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Breast-feeding knowledge and attitudes of teenage mothers in Liverpool

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To determine the knowledge and attitudes of teenage mothers towards breast-feeding. Design

A questionnaire of teenage (< 20 years) and non-teenage (≥ 20 years) primigravidae attending the antenatal care services at the Liverpool Women's Hospital, during the period April–May 2000. Results

Forty teenage primigravidae and 40 non-teenage primigravidae registered for the survey. Teenagers had poorer knowledge about breast-feeding than the non-teenagers, and fewer teenagers considered breast milk the best food for their baby. More teenagers than non-teenagers planned to bottle feed [23 (57.5%) vs. 9 (22.5%), P=0.002]. Only one teenager had knowledge about colostrum. Teenagers were more often single, had a lower level of education, higher unemployment, higher smoking frequency and less contact with a person who had previously breast-fed. Conclusion

Teenage primigravidae have poor knowledge regarding breast-feeding compared with non-teenage primigravidae. A greater proportion of teenagers opted not to breast-feed compared with non-teenagers. Health education classes stressing the importance of breast-feeding should be emphasized in antenatal teenage clinics. More research is needed to understand how to improve the knowledge and motivation of adolescent girls to breast feed.

Keywords: breast-feeding; maternal diet; teenagers

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Tropical Child Health Group, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK, 2: Liverpool Women's Hospital, UK, 3: Liverpool John Moores University, UK,

Publication date: 2002-02-01

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